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10 Little Reasons to Be Thankful This Year

Dec 21, 2020

by Jackie Buddie

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Whether it’s the warmth of a crocheted blanket keeping you cozy on the couch or the delight of receiving an unexpected pick-me-up in the mail from a friend, this year, we’ve found comfort and joy in the little things. To keep that tradition alive this holiday, we’re taking a moment to give thanks for a few of life’s simple gifts: the people, stories, and tokens of positivity that have kept us going during trying times, and made us feel connected even when we can’t be together. To help spread their uplifting effects, we’ve come up with a list of 10 good things worth jotting down in our gratitude journals. Settle in with a mug of hot wassail and join us as we reflect, then head to the comments to share what you’re feeling thankful for this season.

1. People who create

A collage of sellers working on their various crafts.
Clockwise from top: Decor designer Natalie Manima of Bespoke Binny, ceramist Yumiko Goto of Echo of Nature, woodsmith Anne Tranholm of AdrianMartinus

When malls and mega-stores first closed and everyone started hunkering down indoors, wouldn’t you know it’d be Etsy sellers who, in many ways, came to our rescue? From the solitude of their makeshift studios (read: garage workshops and kitchen tables), these talented independent makers and curators kept on creating, supplying us with everyday staples to make our days at home more easeful. And at a time when we all were searching for necessities—from soaps to small-space furnishings—we could feel extra-good knowing that a purchase from an Etsy shop would not only be thoughtfully crafted, but would also support a real person’s livelihood. And what could be more meaningful than that?

2. Masks with panache

A collage of face masks of all different styles available on Etsy.
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Triple-layer face mask from Coco Creations, from $9; embroidered face mask from Earth Nativ, from $10; fall-themed face masks from KD Kreative Dreams, from $17 each; sculpted bowtie face masks from DEMESTIK, $60 for two prints; silk floral face mask from Smart Care by Fran, $20; linen face mask from Linen Home Shop, from $41 for set of 2; gold sequined face mask from Daniela Tabois, $28 

Call them the official accessory of 2020. Since April, expert Etsy stitchers have rallied to create and sell over 53.5 million face masks—but just because they’ve become a necessity, doesn’t mean they can’t also be an expression of your personality. Thanks to clever makers who’ve continued experimenting with different styles, patterns, and fabrics, Etsy’s offerings have evolved to include personalized masks, masks that come with coordinating bandanas or scrunchies, and even matching gown and tuxedo designs for brides and grooms. Take your look from day to night with something bright and sequined, or show your festive side with a seasonal print. Masks today even come with accessories of their own, like wall hooks and detachable chains to store and secure them properly.

3. Unplugged activities

A collage of crafts and games available on Etsy.
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Animal card set from The Paper Creative, $9; autumn embroidery kit from Tamar Nahir Yanai, from $14; dairy-free cheese kit from Urban Cheesecraft, $35; DIY watercolor kit from Wildflower Art Studio, $49; pumpkin needle felting kit from Felted Sky, from $35; socks knitting pattern from Lauren Aston Designs, $10; tangram puzzle from Adrian Martinus, $52

As we’ve spent more and more time tucked away inside, we’ve been grateful for any opportunity to step away from our screens and take on a project that engages our hands and minds. To our delight, Etsy sellers are here to save the day (or game night) with a treasure trove of exquisitely crafted, heirloom-quality puzzles and games that are not only fun to play with, but also a joy to display when you put the pieces away. And for those of us who prefer toying with needle and thread, DIY diversions like knitting patterns, watercolor sets, and embroidery kits have kept our fingers nimble and our imaginations active. 

4. Our friends and family on the front lines

A collage of gifts for essential workers available on Etsy.
SHOP (clockwise from top left): “Take care of yourself” card from Emily Kinsella Art, $4.75; heart slipper socks from eka, $76; lemon tea tree soap from Zandra Beauty, $11; bouquet of paper poppies from Semper Florens Design, $36; “Today I am hopeful” pin from Clara and Macy, from $12; knitted mug cozy from Val Knitting Shop, $18

This holiday, we’re giving extra-special thanks for all the healthcare pros, supermarket cashiers, mail carriers, and delivery drivers whose commitment to showing up day after day has kept our communities afloat. And what better time than the present to remind them just how essential they are to us? Whether you curate a care package to help them relax and de-stress or just pass along a heartfelt note of thanks, preparing a personalized gift is one small way to express your gratitude for the indispensable work they do to keep us fed and cared for every single day.

5. Something to celebrate

A collage of people having small celebrations during quarantine.
Clockwise from top left: Chris and Sarah Schalago on their wedding day, photographed by Tori Kelner; Kruti Patel Goyal and her twins celebrating at home on Mother’s Day; Jen Hsieh dressed up for her virtual baby shower

True, many of our milestone occasions, big and small, may not have gone as anticipated this year, but that hasn’t stopped moms and dads, couples and grads from dreaming up memorable ways to make merry. Whether it’s a rootin’-tootin’ drive-through birthday parade, an at-home Mother’s Day pancake feast, or a virtual baby shower bash complete with BYO-crafts, all around the world people have inspired us with their creative takes on scaled-back celebrating. And if you needed proof that love will always find a way, just look to the smitten sweethearts who scrapped their receptions and said an intimate outdoor “I do” with only their closest kin—and thousands of wildflower blooms—as witnesses. Swoon!

6. Our furry family members

A collage of pet accessories and gifts available on Etsy.
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Matching dog bandana and headwrap from GabeJade, prices vary; cat bridge from CatastrophiCreations, from $145; personalized embroidered pet portrait from Hither Rabbit, from $48; matching mug and cat bowl from The Lulu Bird, $36 and $32 respectively; tropical floral dog collar from Animals in Charge, $31; matching mask and cat bandana from Bebs Bink Shop, from $11

They lift our spirits with their warm licks, waggly tails, and adorable antics. And these past few months, when hugs from human loved ones have been harder to come by, we’ve appreciated the company of our pets all the more, whether they’re curled up at our feet or pawing at our keyboards to request their hourly quota of chin scratches. Their cuddles are precious gifts that beg to be rewarded, and we’re showing our gratitude by spoiling them with everything from cushy beds and snazzy collars to gourmet treats—and even coordinating their accessories with our outfits. (As for the coveted belly rubs? Those come for free.)

7. Something good to listen to

A set of headphones on display on a headphone stand.
SHOP: Copper pipe headphone stand from Mac and Lexie, $69

There’s something undeniably soothing about allowing the dulcet tones of your favorite podcast host to lull you into the zone while you’re walking the dog, baking bread, or folding clothes. And these last few months, it’s safe to say occupying our minds with some engaging audio content has been an especially welcome distraction from all the other noise. In search of some new go-tos for your morning listen or afternoon stroll? Tune in to Etsy’s podcast for two extra-special episodes! Whether you’re interested in hearing jewelry designer Alicia Goodwin dish on which celebrities are wearing her statement pieces, or quilt maker Laura Preston recount how she started her business from the back of a cozy camper, if you’re a fan of our Featured Shop series you’ll love this opportunity to hear two of our favorite makers tell their stories in their own words.

8. Something scrumptious to bake (and eat)

A baking pan full of cookies shaped like acorns.

Nothing elicits a contented sigh quite like a (maybe not-so) healthy dose of comfort food, and this year, with everyone suddenly starring in their own private bakeoff contests, revisiting creative recipes from our gourmet gurus has been a stay-at-home highlight. From fancy fig-topped banana breads to adorable acorn cookies and totally edible terrariums complete with chocolate soil and candy succulents, these crafty treats are as satisfying to prepare as they are to eat. Even better: They make for a wholesome afternoon activity that the whole family can take on together, whether you plan to surprise friends and neighbors with an extra-sweet doorstep delivery, or savor every last bite yourselves.

9. Coming together to protect the planet

A collage of sustainable items available on Etsy.
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Reusable market tote from Annabelle Taylor Co., $27; zero-waste produce bags from Catching Orion, from $9; reusable cotton bowl covers from Wild Clementine Co., from $11; vintage Levi’s 550s from Better Stay Together, $125; hanging planter from CBYMCREATIVE, $90; natural soap from La Marcotterie, $7 each; reclaimed wood farmhouse kitchen table from wwmake, from $1,445

If 2020 has been a year to re-focus on the things that matter most, then it’s no surprise to find that caring for the Earth made our top 10 list. From the conscientious crafters who choose eco-minded materials (think organic fibers, reclaimed wood, and recycled paper) to make and package their designs, to the loyal vintage enthusiasts who find new homes for all things preloved and one-of-a-kind, to shoppers who seek out zero-waste options for food storage, beauty, and household supplies, the Etsy community commitment to sustainability runs deep. And to help carry our share of the Earth-friendly load, Etsy offsets 100% of carbon emissions every time a seller ships a parcel. Go, green team, go!

10. A community that cares 

A photo of a diverse group of women hugging each other and leaning on each other for support.
SHOP: Women supporting women art print from Carla Llanos Prints, from $39

Here at Etsy, we’re lucky to be a part of a diverse group of dreamers and doers, makers and innovators—gifted souls who’ve inspired us with their original ideas and bold imaginations throughout the last 15 years. But this year, we’ve been extra-appreciative of the kindness, compassion, and positivity that is at the heart of this community—from shoppers intentionally supporting local creatives and taking the time to leave thoughtful reviews, to the sellers providing masks for the front lines and rushing orders to arrive in time for important milestones. This is what makes Etsy so special. From our home to yours, happy holidays and a very warm thank you for being here!

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39 comments

  • ai848vtb

    Anastasia from YourAdventureInGlass said 204 days ago

    Thanks a lot for these inspiring stories! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • s7hcw1vt

    Iryna from AlikaEcoSafety said 204 days ago

    Thank you, the Team of ETSY! Point 9 is mine! I glad to be the part of your Green Team and to make together something to protect our Planet! Because our Planet is our only house.

  • gg16xhkr

    Anna from SublimationDesignsAn said 203 days ago

    Nice to read and watch. I respect people who create!

  • vilmira

    Vilmira from CatchingOrion said 203 days ago

    Such a beautiful post! Very grateful to be included. Thank you Jackie and Etsy team:)

  • gilliannorthcott

    Gillian Northcott from esanivintage said 203 days ago

    Something for everyone here.

  • branda

    branda Moreno from branda said 203 days ago

    Congratulations!!!

  • 5shopgirl0

    M M from pHashIONpassION said 203 days ago

    I love this "Thankful" feature! And, thank you for including the vintage enthusiasts on Etsy!

  • zujsubhz

    Anjela from Dream20aDolls said 202 days ago

    I am a creative person myself. of course, the situation with the coronavirus greatly influenced my work. Now we have to make up for lost opportunities. Thank you for your inspiring post, I hope the situation around the world will improve.

  • jtxrpdwo

    Maria from EcoLinenShopArt said 200 days ago

    Ooooh, what interesting face masks)

  • kangoods

    Kandace Potter from KanGoods said 193 days ago

    Great reminder of the wonders of creativity and how they aid in our thankfulness.

  • vtwjpmq598z8tibi

    Denise Hart said 189 days ago

    Hello, I am thankful for the lovely, inclusive commercials ETSY has had on TV and YOUTUBE. Especially the one where they welcome the guys boyfriend to the family. I cried, it touched me. Meaningful and necessary. Love it !

  • 1zph1h3m

    Kirsty Allen from RoamBlogger said 188 days ago

    It's so important, if not more than ever now, to ensure we look after ourselves and the communities we find ourselves in. Lovely feature, thankful for being a part of the etsy community.

  • abqekfz5

    Rita King said 181 days ago

    thank for a very loving husband and an awsome family

  • cppyxx2p

    Sid from AssisTees said 179 days ago

    "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." - Pablo Picasso. This year has been stressful, but art always inspires us. This is a wonderful selection of wonderful artists. Congrats to those who were picked for this list!

  • macraMe

    Ana Paula from macraMe said 179 days ago

    Wonderful!!! Congrats!!!

  • Ciaffi

    ciaffi from ciaffi said 179 days ago

    Great works!!! Congrats!!!

  • 9hqxplwq

    Kyra Quinn from MoonGeekCandleCo said 178 days ago

    So true! It's so easy to focus on everything negative about 2020, but the holiday season is the perfect time to appreciate all of our blessings.

  • x8qnpozo

    Anna from LissiKids said 178 days ago

    very inspiring article! Thank you! I'm grateful for being part of the Etsy community

  • si3vllhr

    Andrei from PuzzleManiaShop said 178 days ago

    Thank you everybody!!! thank you for this interesting stories!!!

  • n0uzcdid

    Natalia Kuznetsova from NataToysPatterns said 178 days ago

    What a huge inspiration I get from watching these great selections!

  • k0nux1n52smctg2b

    Olga Gadach from EmbroideryByGadach said 178 days ago

    And I am grateful this year for the fact that the whole family learned what we are capable of in difficult times. I am grateful to my family and friends - we now know what we mean to each other and who we are.

  • kotskulich

    Tiana Kotskulich Precious Embroidery from TianaHandmade said 177 days ago

    Thank you for your inspiring post! This year teached me to appreciate people's kindness

  • cindycroft415

    Cindy Croft said 177 days ago

    WOW! In all honesty, being thankful and grateful can be very difficult for me.... BUT that thought does not stay around for long. I have a nigley (voice), that puts me in the right direction. I believe its Jesus nudging me and that voice does not stop until I start being grateful and thankful. I have found (for myself), life is a whole lot easier when you are thankful, grateful. When you start giving, I get a warm the warm tingling feeling. I loved the inspiring stories and I hope they keep coming. Thank-you

  • rrlw9qov

    Mary from JAVADIZINE said 176 days ago

    Thanks for sharing the positive vibes!!! Happy Holidays and looking forward to 2021!!!

  • kwu1jdmw

    AlexaMamas from BoringThingsShop said 176 days ago

    This year has been very difficult for the whole world, but it is also worthy of our thanks. People in different parts of our planet thought that the most important thing for them was how to change their lives in order to remain human and enjoy life even in such a difficult time. We've all changed this year. And this positive article shows us that you can and should love and create at any time!

  • bwwata5k

    bwwata5k from bwwata5k said 175 days ago

    It made me feel good to read this “Thankful” feature. It would be great to feature some Canadian artisans and shops.

  • sskulls

    Cat Encio Dolls from CatEncioDolls said 174 days ago

    Spectacular 🌷 Thank you

  • stbybbyz

    Julie from CaliforniaDreamin4Me said 173 days ago

    I am so thankful to have Etsy in my life 🤗

  • tw4kjir92foec0n8

    Linh said 172 days ago

    Thanks for the awesome stories!

  • b704uekt6yqq0xce

    Afif Rohman Wahab said 171 days ago

    Nice to read and watch. Thanks a lot for these inspiring stories!

  • eahya7zg3fx9ug2q

    Le Van Hoi from CTurnerGifts said 170 days ago

    Thanks a lot for these inspiring stories! Happy new year!

  • brittneyhodges1108

    Brittney Hodges from SouthernHDesign said 169 days ago

    Such a good read!! Everyone has so many things to be thankful for this year!!

  • qppq320k

    Mariya from MagicArtForYou said 164 days ago

    What amazing inspirational stories! This year was really very difficult. And how many people have made it more beautiful with their original products! Thank you!

  • pqs388tuvayb4ylo

    anna from HomeOfficePrintables said 162 days ago

    Never a more important time to find things to be thankful for than now. Thank you so much for this lovely article ❤

  • MalwinaMruk

    Malwina from MalwinaMruk said 156 days ago

    Thank you! I agree with all these points. The year 2020 was hard, that's true, but it also helped us discover and appreciate the many talents other people have got. I'm amazed by how many small businesses have emerged during the pandemic. And for that, I'm very grateful 🙏

  • 9yn54aopu57hvj6m

    Odelia Stones from OdeliaStonesArt said 155 days ago

    II like this post and looking forward to share my new creations to the world. Thank you Etsy.

  • qppq320k

    Mariya from MagicArtForYou said 144 days ago

    Thanks for the post! In it everyone will find something about themselves, very inspiring and magical!

  • mendllbp

    Posh Park from PoshPark said 124 days ago

    The wind chill factor outside is -20 degrees Celsius and I'm grateful to have a roof over my head with heat, food and electricity!

  • jrfa8zjsmgeti0bc

    masha from myWoodenStories said 13 days ago

    Thank you

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